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Wind Energy Math Calculations

Measuring the Swept Area of Your Wind Turbine


Being able to measure the swept area of
your blades is essential if you want to
analyze the efficiency of your wind tur-
bine.

The swept area refers to the area of the


circle created by the blades as they
sweep through the air.

To find the swept area, use the same


equation you would use to find the area
of a circle can be found by following
equation:

Area = ∏r2

∏ = 3.14159 (pi)
r= radius of the circle. This is equal to
the length of one of your blades.
Why is This Important???

You will need to know the swept area of your


wind turbine to calculate the total power in the
wind that hits your turbine.

Remember the Power In The Wind Equation:

P = 1/2 x ρ x A x V3

P = Power (Watts)
ρ = Air Density (about 1.225 kg/m3 at sea level)
A = Swept Area of Blades (m2)
V = Velocity of the wind

By doing this calculation, you can see the total energy potential in a given
area of wind. You can then compare this to the actual amount of power you
are producing with your wind turbine (you will need to calculate this using a
multimeter—multiply voltage by amperage). The comparison of these two
figures will indicate how efficient your wind turbine is. Of course, finding the
swept area of your wind turbine is an essential part of this equation!
Sample Problems:
1. What is the swept area of a wind turbine with 6 blades that
are each 45 meters long?

2. What is the swept area of a wind turbine with a rotor di-


ameter of 60 meters?

3. If the wind is blowing at 10 meters/second, how much total


power is in the wind hitting the wind turbine from question
one (blades 45 meters long)? Assume the wind turbine is at
sea level.

4. How much more power (watts) would the wind turbine get
if the wind was blowing at 12 meters per second?

5. The second wind turbine (60 meter diameter) is also at sea


level, but it is in a windier place. How much total power
would it receive from the wind if it was blowing at 20 me-
ters per second?

6. Why can’t a wind turbine with 60 meter blades actually


produce this much power in 20 m/s winds?